Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Does Stress Damage The Brain?

Date:
March 19, 2008
Source:
Elsevier
Summary:
Individuals who experience military combat obviously endure extreme stress, and this exposure leaves many diagnosed with the psychiatric condition of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. PTSD is associated with several abnormalities in brain structure and function.

Individuals who experience military combat obviously endure extreme stress, and this exposure leaves many diagnosed with the psychiatric condition of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. PTSD is associated with several abnormalities in brain structure and function.

Related Articles


However, as researcher Roger Pitman explains, "Although it is tempting to conclude that these abnormalities were caused by the traumatic event, it is also possible that they were pre-existing risk factors that increased the risk of developing PTSD upon the traumatic event's occurrence." Drs. Kasai and Yamasue along with their colleagues sought to examine this association in a new study published in the March 15th issue of Biological Psychiatry.

The authors measured the gray matter density of the brains of combat-exposed Vietnam veterans, some with and some without PTSD, and their combat-unexposed identical twins using a technology called magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The detailed images provided by the MRI scans then allowed the investigators to compare specific brain regions of the siblings. They found that the gray matter density of the pregenual anterior cingulate cortex, an area of the brain involved in emotional functioning, was reduced in veterans with PTSD, but not in their twins who had not experienced combat.

According to Dr. Pitman, "this finding supports the conclusion that the psychological stress resulting from the traumatic stressor may damage this brain region, with deleterious emotional consequences."

John H. Krystal, M.D., Editor of Biological Psychiatry and affiliated with both Yale University School of Medicine and the VA Connecticut Healthcare System, discusses the need for this kind of research because of two separate sets of prior findings: "On the one hand, compelling data from animal research indicates that stress can cause brain atrophy and even neural death in some brain regions. On the other hand, the volume of several brain regions are highly heritable and small brain volumes, presumably related to reduced function, in the hippocampus may increase stress reactivity or impair the capacity for resilience." He adds that findings from this study "suggest that volume reductions in [the anterior cingulate cortex] associated with PTSD arise as a consequence of stress exposure rather than emerging as a heritable trait," leaving one to conclude that "the extent to which particular genes and environmental exposures interact to shape the development of the brain thus appears to be complex and region-specific."

The article is "Evidence for Acquired Pregenual Anterior Cingulate Gray Matter Loss from a Twin Study of Combat-Related Posttraumatic Stress Disorder" by Kiyoto Kasai, Hidenori Yamasue, Mark W. Gilbertson, Martha E. Shenton, Scott L. Rauch and Roger K. Pitman. Drs. Kasai and Yamasue are affiliated with the Department of Neuropsychiatry, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tokyo in Tokyo, Japan. Drs. Gilbertson, Shenton, Rauch and Pitman are with the Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts. Dr. Gilbertson is also from the Research Service, VA Medical Center, Manchester, New Hampshire. Dr. Shenton is also affiliated with the Psychiatry Neuroimaging Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry, and the Surgical Planning Laboratory, MRI Division, Department of Radiology, Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. Dr. Rauch is also with McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts. Dr. Pitman is also from the Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts. The article appears in Biological Psychiatry, Volume 63, Issue 6 (March 15, 2008), published by Elsevier.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Elsevier. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Elsevier. "Does Stress Damage The Brain?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 March 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080318094525.htm>.
Elsevier. (2008, March 19). Does Stress Damage The Brain?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080318094525.htm
Elsevier. "Does Stress Damage The Brain?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080318094525.htm (accessed February 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

NFL Concussions Down; Still on Parents' Minds

NFL Concussions Down; Still on Parents' Minds

AP (Jan. 30, 2015) The NFL announced this week that the number of game concussions dropped by a quarter over last season. Still, the dangers of the sport still weigh on players, and parents&apos; minds. (Jan. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Shows Newborn Chicks Count From Left to Right Just Like Humans

Study Shows Newborn Chicks Count From Left to Right Just Like Humans

Buzz60 (Jan. 30, 2015) Researchers for the first time identified human&apos;s innate preference for associating low and high numbers with the left and right respectively in another species. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Best Mood Elevating, Feel Good Shakes & Smoothies

Best Mood Elevating, Feel Good Shakes & Smoothies

Buzz60 (Jan. 30, 2015) You can elevate your mood by having a meal in a glass. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) offers the best &apos;feel good&apos; smoothies and shakes chock full of depression-relieving ingredients...including apples, berries, lemons, cucumbers, papaya, kiwi, spinach, kale, whey protein, matcha, ginger, turmeric and cinnamon. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Poll Says Firstborn Is Responsible, Youngest Is Funnier

Poll Says Firstborn Is Responsible, Youngest Is Funnier

Newsy (Jan. 30, 2015) According to a poll out of the U.K., eldest siblings feel more responsible and successful than their younger siblings. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins